Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Back-to-School Edition, Use Omeka in Your Class

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s that time of year when educators and instructors are planning like mad for the coming semester or quarter, so we are highlighting some resources to help you get started using Omeka in your class.

You might be asking, well, how have others incorporated Omeka into assignments or final student projects? What were the learning objectives and expected outcomes? We know of many instructors using Omeka, these are a few pieces they wrote describing processes involved in launching student-driven digital projects with Omeka:

To see some of the possible uses for Omeka, see, “How Might You Use Omeka” and the growing list of Sites Using Omeka.

Running Omeka on a Server or

Now that you know how some people have used Omeka in their classes, consider your technical abilities and capabilities. Do you have access to a Linux server? Would you need hosting? How much support can you offer students? Do you wish to only use Omeka as a web service?

We recommend folks start in the Getting Started section of the Documentation. You will find detailed information about technical requirements and hosting suggestions.

If you are not interested in setting up a server or in finding outside hosts, you can try the service. See, for more information about signing up for an account and the different plans available (for free and for purchase). Check out this spreadsheet that details the differences in functionality, storage space, plugins, themes:

Consider contacting your library liaison, department chair, or IT services representative about purchasing an Platinum plan so that everyone at your school has access to Omeka sites and to all of the plugins and themes available on

Building a Site

You have an Omeka site, now, how do you and your students begin to plan and to add content?

General Caution

Building digital projects always takes longer than you think. Be sure to plan enough time for snafus, and warn your students that they need to plan as well.

Take some time to work through the decision-making process on getting Omeka installed or using, before introducing it to students.

We have provided many resources to help users of all technical abilities to get started using Omeka for a class project. We ask that as you are instructing students to build sites together, or individually, that you encourage them to collaborate and problem solve together. Peers should serve as the “first ask” for technical questions before posting to the forums or sending an email.

We do our best to respond to questions on the forums and email, but if you or your students ask a question the night before a project is due, it is possible that you will not get a response before class.

Even with those few cautionary words, we hope that you will dive in and use Omeka this semester or next to help students to learn about the processes of knowledge creation, to work with a digital publishing platform, and to develop a public scholarly voice.

Omeka 2.1 Release Candidate, updated Berlin theme, and a RESTful API

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The Omeka team is very happy to announce important releases: an overhauled version of the popular Berlin theme, and a release candidate of Omeka 2.1

The updated Berlin theme features much cleaner HTML5 code and separation of content and presentation, and improved styling for the Exhibit Builder plugin. Sites using Berlin should upgrade to this latest version.

A release candidate of Omeka 2.1 is also ready for download.  As a release candidate — not a final release — you shouldn’t  upgrade your existing Omeka sites quite yet. Instead it is a preview for Omeka for developers and early adopters to try before we are ready for a final release. We especially want to invite feedback on its most important new feature,  a REST Application Programming Interface (API) for the Omeka installation.

Adding an API brings us better in line with a principle we at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media hold very important: the idea that data should not be locked into any one platform without a way to get it out. Some mechanisms for data exchange such as ATOM and other XML and JSON output formats have long been present in Omeka for retrieving data about items. The full API, however, exposes data about collections, files, item types — indeed, almost all the data that makes your Omeka installation tick. Plugins can also easily tap into the API, making sure that data they store can be available for outside applications.

But we also want other applications to be able to push data into Omeka, too. For most records, then, applications will be able to add, modify, or delete data in Omeka. Our hope is that this will facilitate a long-standing desire to make it easier for other systems to sync records with an Omeka site, or simply to migrate data from another CMS into an Omeka site.

Don’t worry, if you do not want to turn on the API, you don’t have to. Permissions to modify any data are only given to existing users of the site who have been given a key by an administrator. The same permissions by role apply to the API, so users with the “researcher” role will not be able to do anything through the API that they cannot do through the regular admin interface.

Instead, we want the release candidate out in the world so other developers can try out the API and give us feedback on it before it takes its final form. Afterall, the API is all about better interaction with other systems, and so we need to hear about how you all make use of it, to what extent it does what you need, and whether there are aspects that could be improved.

Or, if you want to try to latest Omeka in a new installation, possible remaining bugs and all, we definitely want to hear your feedback, too.

To begin exploring the API, start by reading the documentation for it. Our own inimitable Jim Safley has also produced example clients for Javascript, PHP (using Zend Framework 2), and Python that show some examples of how the API could be used. These should not be taken as the “official” clients to use. In fact, we hope that many people will create clients to demonstrate different approaches to using the API.

In addition to the bundled plugins Simple Pages and Exhibit Builder, developers might also want to download the release candidate versions of Geolocation and Commenting to see how plugins can be part of the API.

If you are a developer and have an interest in making data more open, we hope you will try the release candidates of Omeka and of these plugins and give us your feedback on the dev list.

It’s May, and We’re Hiring

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Things are cooking right along here at Omeka, and as usual, we’re looking for more qualified hand to help us build. See the following developer add for details. We begin reviewing applications today, and will do so on a continuing basis.

Junior PHP Developer — Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (Contract, Fulltime, Onsite preferred)

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media <> is looking for a junior PHP developer (contract, preferably onsite) to join our innovative and energetic team in working on Omeka <>, our FOSS Zend-based content management system and web publishing platform for cultural heritage materials.  You can see the code at <>.


  •     Proficiency in PHP (1-2 experience years)
  •     Proficiency in Javascript (1-2 years experience)
  •     Strong Object-Oriented programming skills
  •     Familiarity with the MVC design pattern
  •     Familiarity with Zend Framework
  •     Excellent communication skills with others at all levels of programming skill
  •     Ability to balance competing needs and priorities in designing code
  •     Creativity in problem-solving, and openness to experimenting with unfamiliar approaches


  •     Experience working on open source software projects
  •     Familiarity with HTML5, CSS3, and graphic design principles
  •     Experience with Amazon Web Services and other cloud services
  •     Experience with github
  •     Experience with PHPUnit testing framework
  •     Background or experience in the Humanities

With guidance from our Lead Developer and Omeka Dev Team Manager, and in collaboration with other developers and members of CHNM, the new team member will work primarily on various aspects of our Omeka content management system.


  • Resolve issues in the core Omeka core
  • Develop and maintain Omeka plugins and themes
  • Build and customize new sites with Omeka
  • Help to design and implement future versions of the core Omeka codebase.
  • Contribute to other ad-hoc projects within the CHNM ecosystem.

CHNM is the leading producer of open source tools for humanists and of award-winning history content on the Web (for example: Zotero, Omeka, and the Bracero History Archive). Each year CHNM’s many project Web sites receive over 16 million visitors, and over a million people rely on its digital tools to teach, learn and conduct research. CHNM is located at George Mason University, which is 15 miles from Washington DC, and is accessible by public transportation.

Please send a resume and cover letter to We will begin reviewing materials immediately.

Happy Holidays! Omeka 2.0 Release Candidate Available

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well you just might find
You get what you need

With the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, we offer the Omeka 2.0 release candidate. New and improved based on the feedback and testing from the 2.0 Beta, this version of the software makes it possible for Omeka fans to get started on new projects today.

The Omeka Team is putting the finishing touches on updated themes and plugins that usually accompany our full release package. In the meantime, designers, developers, and translators can work with the core software, the default and Seasons themes, and the COinS and SimplePages plugins.

Omeka 2.0 sports a host of shiny new and improved features, including:

  • an administrative interface that has been redesigned to improve workflow;
  • an improved ability to customize site navigation with drag and drop;
  • the opportunity to select a homepage from a range of available pages;
  • the addition of Dublin Core Metadata fields to Collections;
  • the ability to add comments or instructions to metadata fields for other users;
  • the creation of thumbnail images for a fuller range of files;
  • and, the availability of a new site-wide search.

Moreover, plugin and theme developers will discover more streamlined code, fewer functions to know (without any loss in capability), an increased number of hooks and filters, and greater overall consistency in how to use them. All of these improvements have been carefully documented by the Omeka Dev team.

Check out the screencast to get an overview of 2.0 goodness, and then go download your copy of the release candidate to get started!

Introduction to Omeka 2.0 from Omeka on Vimeo.

Fun New Things for Omeka 2.0 (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Omeka dev team has been hard at work making many changes and improvements to Omeka in anticipation of our next major release, 2.0. We will make a release candidate available in mid- to late- October for testing.

We want to alert the community of the changes coming, in hopes that it will help users plan their projects and prepare for theme and plugin development work. The most significant changes in 2.0 will effect sites with customized themes and plugins, and we will outline those changes in Part II.


While much of the work for 2.0 occurred under the hood, web designer Kim Nguyen tackled the challenge of refreshing and improving the look and functionality of the administrative interface. Users will notice that the theme is completely rewritten.

The new Omeka Admin Dashboard is streamlined to improve workflow, management, and overall usability of the administrative side of Omeka. Some notable improvements include:

  • Easier access to main admin functions and site settings from the Dashboard.
  • Cleaner, more efficient item editing page — no more scrolling to the bottom to click “Submit”!
  • Ability to annotate Dublin Core element descriptions, and other element set fields to provide guidance on interpreting fields.
  • Option to re-order the admin display of Dublin Core elements, and other element sets, for item metadata entry.
  • Easier user management with bulk operations on users.
  • Easier customization of site navigation.

Here is an “exclusive” preview of the new Admin Dashboard:

Experienced Omeka content creators may need a day or two to get used to a slightly different layout, but we think that everyone will find the changes improve their experience when working with content in the Admin.


The search facility in Omeka 2.0 is vastly improved. Search functions across all of your Simple Pages and Exhibit content in addition to item metadata, as was previously the case. Moreover, plugins can easily add their own content to the search mechanism. If you will be upgrading from an existing Omeka installation, the search index can be easily updated from the administration pages to make sure users can find what they are looking for.

File Handling

Depending on how your server is configured, Omeka 2.0 will generate jpeg derivatives of many more file types, including PDF files and videos. These thumbnail images will appear in browse and exhibit pages. Additional metadata about files will also be available.

These changes will be most visible to project and content managers. For changes effecting designers and developers, stay tuned for Part II.